Author Topic: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?  (Read 20064 times)

Russ Saltzman

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #150 on: October 22, 2012, 12:33:07 PM »
I would contend that since social statements are guidelines, not rules or canon law, anyone can disagree with it, even bishops.

That's true until the enabling resolutions bind the divisions to certain actions envisioned by the social statement. That, 'round about through a working group, is how the ELCA church council came to direct the Board of Pensions to treat abortion as a reimbursable medical expense under the health plan for pastors and their dependents. I was ever so happy to register permissible disagreement, while while my pension and health contributions continued (to whatever small degree) to pay for elective abortion in the Church of Christ that was once the ELCA.
Russell E Saltzman
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Russ Saltzman

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #151 on: October 22, 2012, 01:05:18 PM »
My ELCA friends remain deeply upset by the "social statement" for being so wishy-washy, but they are even more upset that in spite of that social statement, the ELCA's health care plans provide abortions for any reason, or no reason at all, to any woman: in other words, the ELCA pays for unlimited abortions on demand.


Quote
Your friends have not read our health care plan. They are incorrect.

...

I'd rather say that our statement and health care policy puts the onus on the people most directly involved to make the right decision. The aim of our Statement is to help people make the right decision.

You are wrong.

The BOP health plan treats abortion for any cause as a reimbursable medical expense. They do not examine intentions, motives, or circumstances. They do match insurance codes with procedural codes (the procedural code for a broken arm cannot be matched, say, with the insurance code for a kidney transplant). If the codes match, the insurance is paid.

Elective abortion falls under several procedural codes, most notably D&C procedure, but the health plan reimburses all.

I've heard this stuff before: "The ELCA health plan does not pay for elective abortions." It is an absolute falsehood. Usually, the assertion is presented as: The ELCA pays for no abortion that is not medically indicated - meaning, where codes do not match. But the codes will always match.

It was this that prompted me in the early 1990's to leave the ELCA pension and health plan. Period.

Under my private insurance, elective abortion is not reimbursable, nor is an elective nose job. Guess which elective procedure the health plan for ELCA clergy will cover.

Resources:

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-01-019-v

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2008/10/004-a-fear-of-abandonment-31
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 01:09:00 PM by Russ Saltzman »
Russell E Saltzman
former editor, Forum Letter
former columnist, www.firstthings.com
essayist, https://aleteia.org/author/russell-e-saltzman/
email: russell.e.saltzman@gmail.com
Facebook: Russ Saltzman

George Erdner

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #152 on: October 22, 2012, 02:41:03 PM »
I would contend that since social statements are guidelines, not rules or canon law, anyone can disagree with it, even bishops.

That's true until the enabling resolutions bind the divisions to certain actions envisioned by the social statement. That, 'round about through a working group, is how the ELCA church council came to direct the Board of Pensions to treat abortion as a reimbursable medical expense under the health plan for pastors and their dependents. I was ever so happy to register permissible disagreement, while while my pension and health contributions continued (to whatever small degree) to pay for elective abortion in the Church of Christ that was once the ELCA.


As has been often said before, actions speak louder than words. I know that phrase isn't exactly in Scripture, but  it is something of the thinking behind some parables, such as the Good Samaritan. Or, the saying about where your treasure is, that's where your heart is. Or, use the old secular adage about putting your money where your mouth is. Whatever cliche you use, the result is the same. The ELCA provides funding for abortions. Period. They might filter it through an insurance company, but no amount of laundering of the money changes the fact that some of the offerings of the ELCA's pewsitters that makes its way to Higgins Road are spent on abortions. I'd like to hear Hanson make a public statement about that particular piece of honest truth. I won't be holding my breath.


If the social statements are nothing but mere "guidelines", what's the point of even making them? Why spend so much of the ELCA's treasury on big national assemblies to do nothing but issue pointless, optional "guidelines"?


Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #153 on: October 22, 2012, 04:06:56 PM »
I never claimed to be under the guidance of the social statement while still in the ELCA, and if you wish, I'll forward you a copy of our abortion policy soon to be adopted here.  But I suspect you really don't care.


No one in the ELCA says that you have to be guided or even agree with our statement. However, if you were a bishop, especially the presiding bishop; then your public statements are to be in line with our social statement. It is what the ELCA teaches on that subject.

So in the ELCA a rostered pastor can be a committed pro-life proponent, make public statements to that effect, and be in good standing with the denominations even if his/her statements are in opposition to the ELCA's official stance?  OTOH, bishops can be pro-life privately, but not publicly?


First of all, our Statement is pro-life. It allows for abortion in limited circumstances where it may be a responsible choice. Anyone proclaiming that abortion should be a means of birth control or should be available on demand is speaking contrary to our statement.


Secondly, yes, the further up the church hierarchy the greater the responsibility is to publicly uphold the ELCA teachings. When a sitting synod bishop took part in an irregular ordination, he ended up resigning. None of the rostered pastors who were at the ordination were pressured into resigning.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #154 on: October 22, 2012, 04:09:22 PM »

It is obvious to me that you have not read the ELCA Social Teaching Statement on Abortion. We oppose abortion, but we recognize three situations where it might be a tragic but morally responsible choice, such as to save the life of the mother.

Perhaps he has read the reasoning for the Portico (formerly ELCA-Board of Pensions) Medical Plan's coverage of abortion, where the judgments offered in the Social Statement were declared by the ELCA Church Council to have no effect whatsoever on the policies of this church, and thus the only relevant "situation" is how far along the pregnancy is.

But what all this has to do with the subject matter ("NALC mirror image of AELC?") I have no idea. The NALC's medical plan does not cover elective abortions.


And the ELCA teaching is "In nearly all cases, don't elect to have an abortion." It applies to all folks whose health plans may cover elective abortions.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #155 on: October 22, 2012, 04:15:39 PM »
My ELCA friends remain deeply upset by the "social statement" for being so wishy-washy, but they are even more upset that in spite of that social statement, the ELCA's health care plans provide abortions for any reason, or no reason at all, to any woman: in other words, the ELCA pays for unlimited abortions on demand.


Quote
Your friends have not read our health care plan. They are incorrect.

...

I'd rather say that our statement and health care policy puts the onus on the people most directly involved to make the right decision. The aim of our Statement is to help people make the right decision.

You are wrong.

The BOP health plan treats abortion for any cause as a reimbursable medical expense. They do not examine intentions, motives, or circumstances. They do match insurance codes with procedural codes (the procedural code for a broken arm cannot be matched, say, with the insurance code for a kidney transplant). If the codes match, the insurance is paid.

Elective abortion falls under several procedural codes, most notably D&C procedure, but the health plan reimburses all.

I've heard this stuff before: "The ELCA health plan does not pay for elective abortions." It is an absolute falsehood. Usually, the assertion is presented as: The ELCA pays for no abortion that is not medically indicated - meaning, where codes do not match. But the codes will always match.

It was this that prompted me in the early 1990's to leave the ELCA pension and health plan. Period.

Under my private insurance, elective abortion is not reimbursable, nor is an elective nose job. Guess which elective procedure the health plan for ELCA clergy will cover.


How is my statement wrong? I agree that the health plan pays for elective abortions up until the third trimester (thus it isn't quite a blanket "on demand" policy). My statement is saying that our ELCA Statement does not make the health plan the responsible party in regards to decisions about most abortions, but the people most closely connected to the pregnancy. The Statement seeks to guide them into making the right decision which is to give birth to a healthy child in all but a few situations.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Charles_Austin

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #156 on: October 22, 2012, 04:21:06 PM »
Social Statement are teaching documents. As I noted upstream, they do not make "canon law," nor are the intended to be rule and instructions for agencies or institutions. They teach. ELCA leaders have formed various policies and procedures based on those teachings. ELCA members can listen to the teaching, but we have neither the intent nor the power to make anyone obey or to follow the teachings.
If someone denies that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we have means to deny that person membership or leadership in the ELCA.
If someone says "I don't agree with the social statement on abortion," that is not a matter for discipline.
And the decision for an abortion is neither made nor prohibited by an institution or a bureaucracy; it is made by the woman, hopefully the father and the other people in her life, including her pastor.
No one should be surprised that the ELCA health care plan allows people to choose an abortion under certain conditions.  Plenty of noise has been made about that for years and years. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't been paying attention or is intentionally ignorant.

Felix Culpepper

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #157 on: October 22, 2012, 05:44:56 PM »
Social Statement are teaching documents. As I noted upstream, they do not make "canon law," nor are the intended to be rule and instructions for agencies or institutions. They teach. ELCA leaders have formed various policies and procedures based on those teachings. ELCA members can listen to the teaching, but we have neither the intent nor the power to make anyone obey or to follow the teachings.

However, failing to promote awareness of and study of ELCA Social Statements can be considered failure to support the ELCA, and therefore a violation of one's letter of call?

Quote
If someone denies that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we have means to deny that person membership or leadership in the ELCA.
 

Means seldom if ever used.  But in theory?  Yes.  One expects that within the next decade, it will be removed as other archaic barriers to membership and leadership have been.

Quote
If someone says "I don't agree with the social statement on abortion," that is not a matter for discipline.


Unless Sec. Swartling rules that it is a matter of discipline.  Then it will be.

Quote
And the decision for an abortion is neither made nor prohibited by an institution or a bureaucracy; it is made by the woman, hopefully the father and the other people in her life, including her pastor.

I agree that the social statement intended for its guidance to be applied in this context, rather than at the policy making level.

Quote
No one should be surprised that the ELCA health care plan allows people to choose an abortion under certain conditions.  Plenty of noise has been made about that for years and years. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't been paying attention or is intentionally ignorant.

You are correct.  For all who are interested, that has been clear for some time.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 05:47:53 PM by Felix Culpepper »

Coach-Rev

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #158 on: October 22, 2012, 05:46:26 PM »
Social Statement are teaching documents. As I noted upstream, they do not make "canon law," nor are the intended to be rule and instructions for agencies or institutions. They teach.
Aw, now you're being generous again, because they don't teach much.

Quote
No one should be surprised that the ELCA health care plan allows people to choose an abortion under certain conditions.  Plenty of noise has been made about that for years and years. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't been paying attention or is intentionally ignorant.

That's a pretty creative spin on the truth there.
 
You are wrong.

The BOP health plan treats abortion for any cause as a reimbursable medical expense. They do not examine intentions, motives, or circumstances.

Rev. Saltzman is the more accurate, meaning that the "certain conditions" you imply are any possible scenario imaginable.  If you would merely admit that abortion is treated and accepted as retroactive birth control in nearly all instances, your credibility might just go up a bit as an advocate for ELCA positions.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #159 on: October 22, 2012, 07:58:36 PM »
Pastor Cottingham writes (re ELCA Social Statements):
because they don't teach much.

I muse:
Got your daily giddies with that one, didn't you? Tens of thousands of people who have used the ELCA social statements - and not just the one on abortion - might disagree with you.
Can you not just let it go? You reject ELCA social statements and said you didn't like them even when you were in the ELCA. You are not any more. So I ask again, what do you get - other than your own daily giddies - by firing these shots?
If I will grant that someone can serve their Lord in the NALC, even though there are things about that church body that I do not like, why can't you just let the ELCA people minister in their church body?

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #160 on: October 22, 2012, 08:30:19 PM »
Social Statement are teaching documents. As I noted upstream, they do not make "canon law," nor are the intended to be rule and instructions for agencies or institutions. They teach. ELCA leaders have formed various policies and procedures based on those teachings. ELCA members can listen to the teaching, but we have neither the intent nor the power to make anyone obey or to follow the teachings.

However, failing to promote awareness of and study of ELCA Social Statements can be considered failure to support the ELCA, and therefore a violation of one's letter of call?


When people ask what the ELCA teaches about abortion, capital punishment, or any other topic covered in a Social Teaching Statement, they are to refer to these statements. This does not mean that the pastor has to agree with the teaching, but his/her personal opinion is not the teaching of the ELCA.

Quote
Quote
If someone denies that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we have means to deny that person membership or leadership in the ELCA.
 

Means seldom if ever used.  But in theory?  Yes.  One expects that within the next decade, it will be removed as other archaic barriers to membership and leadership have been.

If someone denies that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, they are not Christian. Many, many people in the ELCA believe that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but also use other language to talk about the Trinity.

Quote
Quote
If someone says "I don't agree with the social statement on abortion," that is not a matter for discipline.


Unless Sec. Swartling rules that it is a matter of discipline.  Then it will be.


Sec. Swartling interprets the constitution and bylaws. He does not hand out discipline. He is not part of the process for discipline. The discipline of pastors and congregations takes place at the synod level. The exception are that synodical bishops are disciplined by the churchwide expression.

"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #161 on: October 22, 2012, 08:34:12 PM »
Rev. Saltzman is the more accurate, meaning that the "certain conditions" you imply are any possible scenario imaginable.  If you would merely admit that abortion is treated and accepted as retroactive birth control in nearly all instances, your credibility might just go up a bit as an advocate for ELCA positions.


I have absolutely no idea if our ELCA plan is paying for retroactive birth control or if every person who seeks payment for an abortion coded procedures falls under the guidelines of our social statement. I apparently have more faith in the folks who are part of the Portico plan are people who make responsible decisions concerning ending pregnancies in line with our teaching statement.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Felix Culpepper

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #162 on: October 22, 2012, 08:43:36 PM »
When people ask what the ELCA teaches about abortion, capital punishment, or any other topic covered in a Social Teaching Statement, they are to refer to these statements. This does not mean that the pastor has to agree with the teaching, but his/her personal opinion is not the teaching of the ELCA.

I really want to know, however, whether failure to promote awareness and discussion of our Social Statements constitutes failure to promote the ministries of the ELCA.  Such failure, it has been alleged, is a violation of one's letter of call.

Quote
  If someone denies that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, they are not Christian. Many, many people in the ELCA believe that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but also use other language to talk about the Trinity.

Many in the ELCA deny that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  They will confess that God is Triune, but they deny that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Quote
Sec. Swartling interprets the constitution and bylaws. He does not hand out discipline. He is not part of the process for discipline. The discipline of pastors and congregations takes place at the synod level. The exception are that synodical bishops are disciplined by the churchwide expression.

Yes, but Sec. Swartling interprets the constitution and bylaws infallibly.  Therefore, if he says that the constitution and bylaws require subscription to the Social Statements, then his word is final.  Right?

Satis Est

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #163 on: October 22, 2012, 09:21:20 PM »
But what all this has to do with the subject matter ("NALC mirror image of AELC?") I have no idea. The NALC's medical plan does not cover elective abortions.

Ah, but Pastor Tibbetts, you are a Priest of Molech, being in the ELCA.  Which ordains women.  Like the NALC.  So even the women pastors in the NALC must therefore be Priestesses of Molech.  Because everyone knows that the NALC is the mirror image of the AELC, which is now part of the ELCA. So discussing the social statements, medical plan, Portico, bishops, and abortion statements of the ELCA is now part of the subject. 

Clear?  No, it isn't to me either.  But here we go round the mulberry bush anyway.  :P 


Charles_Austin

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Re: Oct 2012 Lutheran Forum Question - NALC mirror image of AELC?
« Reply #164 on: October 22, 2012, 10:45:56 PM »
Felix Culpepper writes:
Many in the ELCA deny that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  They will confess that God is Triune, but they deny that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I muse:
Many? What is many? And how do you know? And if this were true, would we not be having calls for discipline?
Really? These silly sweeping statements do nothing to advance any discussion.